On CNN Tuesday, fact-checker John Avlon broke down the pattern of President Donald Trump rewarding criminals in his orbit with pardons and commutations.
“The Trump orbit has far more than the fair share of felons, many of them out of prison only after sucking up to the president,” said Avlon. “Roger Stone is a felon and just the latest beneficiary of the presidential gift to loyalists. A commutation of his 40-month sentence. Even though one of the prosecutors testified they had pressured to go easy on Stone because of the relationship with president. He tampered with witnesses, he was the campaign’s primary conduit to Wikileaks, and had hoped to be rewarded for not rolling over on Trump. Not even Nixon rewarded the henchman this way.”
“But sucking up to Trump has proven to be an effective way of getting the president to spring you early,” said Avlon. “From Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to Eddie Gallagher, the Navy SEAL court-martialed for killing civilians. From Governor Rod Blagojevich, to Dinesh D’Souza, who subsequently made a movie comparing Trump to Abraham Lincoln, which is bonkers.”
“But right now, of all of Trump’s felons, only one is still actually in prison,” said Avlon. “That would be Michael Cohen. And what makes him different? He spoke out against Trump and now, after a furlough, is back in prison. Why? Some think it was this photo of him eating outdoors, violating the house arrest, but that’s not it. According to his lawyers, it’s to stop him from publishing a tell-all book about Trump before the election. He was suddenly sent back to prison after refusing to sign a document about no contact with the media.”
“You might think this is normal procedure, but it’s not. Not by a long shot,” said Avlon. “In fact, a long list of constitutional scholars were interviewed by the website Just Security, and they described it as ‘patently unconstitutional’ and ‘an obvious violation of his First Amendment rights’ … this is what authoritarian regimes do. Stop the free speech of dissidents, where the ruler deems disloyal.”
“This is bigger than Michael Cohen and bigger than partisan politics,” said Avlon. “If you claim to be a constitutional conservative, you ought to be outraged about the muzzling of Cohen, because this is the assault on the freedom of speech, and if you accept or ignore or normalize it, then you’re reinforcing a culture of fear, a culture that frees felons as long as they defend the president.”
Investigative reporter David Cay Johnston explains when you’ll see Trump get indicted
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston appeared Thursday on CNN, where he explained when he believed President Donald Trump would be indicted.
After receiving a subpoena from New York prosecutors last year, Deutsche Bank reportedly handed over detailed records about their dealings with Trump, according to the New York Times. The subpoena indicates that the investigation of Trump's family business is more expansive than previously thought.
"Prosecutors already have the basic tax information on Donald Trump. Your state tax return is virtually identical to your federal return, and the IRS shares tax information with the state," Johnston explained to CNN host Brianna Keilar.
Dr. Fauci says his family is being threatened because of a ‘completely crazy’ backlash against science
Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN's John Berman on Thursday that he and his family are facing death threats because some Americans are having an irrational backlash against scientists during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When asked by Berman about the threats he's received, Fauci turned it into a broader discussion about America's divisive politics.
"You know, there's such divisiveness right now in this country, John, I mean, I can't explain it," he said. "The kinds of things that you see in society, you have a lot of outlier people that do things that are almost inexplicable, where the push back against science is in a way that gets translated into threats to me, my daughters, my wife. I mean that is completely crazy, it really makes you shake your head."
WATCH: CNN fact checker shows how Trump campaign ‘egregiously altered’ Biden photos in new ad
CNN fact checker Daniel Dale on Thursday showed how President Donald Trump's campaign has been blatantly manipulating photos of former Vice President Joe Biden to make it look like he has spent the last year sitting in his basement.
While appearing on "New Day," Dale dissected images of Biden in Trump's new ad and showed how the campaign used Photoshop to put the photos in a completely different context.
"[The ad] uses three misleading images, one of which is egregiously altered," Dale said. "That first image shows Joe Biden speaking at a town hall in Iowa outdoors at a nature preserve... what the ad does is remove the microphone from his hand and remove the trees, replacing it with a wall to make him seem like he's alone and not talking to anyone."